Upper Nile: SSPDF accuses SPLA-IO of ‘planning fresh attacks’

The South Sudan People’s Defence Force (SSPDF) has warned of looming attacks in Upper Nile State. The Bilpham office blamed the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) for the planned insurgency to seize control of certain regions in the oil-rich state, even as it called on peace brokers to find an urgent intervention.

The SSPDF alleged in a press release issued yesterday that SPLA-IO was going on with a ‘‘massive mobilisation’’ of forces and armed civilians in three counties in Upper Nile State – Nasir, Maiwut, and Longchuk— to launch attacks on their positions in the said areas. But the SPLA-IO has denied the accusations.

The SSPDF Spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai alleged that the mobilization was being led by Lt. Gen. Peter Thuok Chuol, Maj. Gen. Thuol Chuol Leiy, Brig. Gen. Hok-Dor Chuol and commissioners of Nasir and Longchuk counties ahead of the planned attacks.

“It’s with great concern that SSPDF GHrs would like to inform the people of South Sudan, the region, and the international community about the ongoing massive mobilisation of rebel forces, and armed civilians by our peace partner,  SPLM/SPLA-IO in Nasir, Maiwut and Longchuk Counties in Upper Nile State,”

“As things stand, armed civilians from Cieng-Wang, Cieng-Lang, and Cieng-Yol had been successfully mobilised with the military objective of attacking and recapturing Maiwut-Gok-Hoth and Jakou in the first phase of offensive operation,” Gen. Lul said.

“Ongoing mobilisation of SPLM/SPLA-IO fighters and armed civilians from Cieng-Reng, Thiang and some elements from Cieng Chany is aimed at attacking and recapturing Maiwut and Pagak in the second phase of offensive operation.”

Call for interventions

Maj. Gen. Lul called on the international community to put pressure on their peace partner, the SPLM/A, to avert the looming violence in the areas.

“SSPDF GHQs call upon the international community, IGAD, RJMEC, and CTSAMVM to exert pressure on SPLM/SPLA-IO leadership in order to avert looming conflict. Finally, SSPDF leadership reiterates its commitment to full implementation of transitional security arrangement, “Lul added.

When contacted, the SPLA-IO Spokesperson, Col. Lam Paul, said such an accusation was propaganda by the SSPDF to wage war on their position at the time both parties were implementing the security arrangement.

“What we know is [that] when there is a statement like this coming from SSPDF, [it] means there is a plan of attack against the SPLA-IO. So, this is a deterrent language to take violence over the SPLA-IO’s basis in those areas. But the truth is there is nothing called mobilisation and we are not mobilising anyone since the commitment signed by the principals on April 4 in Juba here,” said Col. Lam.

He added, “The constant calling of SPLA-IO forces as a rebel is itself a negative intention from our peace partner. We are implementing the peace together and calling our forces on the ground as mobilising rebels is technically an intention showing that there are not okay with us being peace partner to them.”